Iowa’s pheasant numbers have rebounded to a six-year high, says Todd Bogenschutz, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ upland wildlife research biologist.
The state’s August roadside survey indicates a pheasant index up 151 percent as compared to last year.
“It appears many hens were successful at nesting even though it was a cooler than normal spring,” Bogenschutz said. He adds poor roadside count conditions the past two seasons also contributed to an underestimation of the population the past couple seasons.
“More hens on the landscape than we thought, combined with a good nesting effort this year, has helped pheasant numbers rebound to a six-year high,” he said. “Last year, 41,000 hunters harvested 166,000 roosters.
While bird numbers are nowhere near heyday levels, Bogenschutz says hunter numbers and hunting pressure has really declined which means there are underutilized hunting opportunities statewide.
“Hunters should be pleasantly surprised by the improved bird numbers in parts of Iowa,” he said. “Hunters need to focus around areas with good winter cover and grassland nesting habitat.”